Some time ago I had the pleasure of participating in a conversation with the charming and brilliant Ross Felix, over at the Dating Revolution and one of his colleagues. The discussion was dating and mating sites (I call them mating sites, mind you). While I don’t remember, verbatim, the entire conversation, the topics spilled over to the continued relevance of traditional dating sites. Ross obviously held close to his belief that the traditional dating site model isn’t going anywhere fast. His colleague disagreed and I did, too. Here’s why…
Traditional sites such as a Plenty of Fish, Book of Matches or OkStupid OkCupid have a fairly easy model. Signup for free, browse, connect hook up and repeat. Simple.
Match, eHarm Eharmony are a bit more sophisticated in the methods they use to match seeking singles in that they implement algorithms to make mathematical mating magic happen (say that five times fast during coitus). I lump the niche dating sites with eharmony and Plenty of Poon Fish as well.
My thought is that as Social Networking tools become more sophisticated and prevalent, the traditional dating site model will become obsolete. For instance, I’ve actually gone on a date with someone I met at a Yelp event. I bring up Yelp because of an article I read today detailing how a couple met through Yelp. I think that’s great. If you know me, you know that I love me the Yelp! There are yet other innovative services that look to key in on what is most important to users.
I used to go to Yelp events all the time. Firstly, single dudes; these are great places to meet like-minded and interesting folks. Not only that but tons of events are always organized, so if you’re bored it’s really easy just to go to their site, punch up your neck of the hood and see what’s going on. That’s how I met the gal I went on a few dates with.
Facebook is, to me, the great untapped dating site. I’m not alone in my opinion. Our good friend, Mike Masters, even wrote a pretty awesome eBook on the topic (recommended reading). When I’ve brought up the potential amazingness that Facebook is as a potential dating tool people always look at me as though I’m standing in front of them wearing no underoos. Read: Totally unimpressed. In other words people think it’s a crap idea. To them, their big concern is sharing your dating laundry with everyone. I get it. Most people who date don’t want their relationship and dating baggage for all to consume. However, I think if Facebook gave that choice to the user, whether they wanted to share their dating data at all, or have a choice over what dating info they could share, they would be on to something pretty amazing.
The sheer amount of data shared by Facebook users is simply staggering. Just tallying “likes” alone is enough to push singles together and start a conversation.
Sites such as Gelato and Tastebuds.fm have tapped in to this whole information sharing plus dating thing. They get it; social media that is. They allow you to connect via the social tools that you use most and pull in information that potential suitors find interest in. Tastebuds.fm is a great example of this. Their primary tie in is music and matching people together with similar tastes and they achieve this feat by using Last.fm data from users that have their tunes “scrobbled.”What a novel concept! I’d never have to fill out another profile again! OkCupid has a similar feature allowing lustful and forlorn lovers to connect via their Facebook account.
Sure there are forums for people to connect and such, but using all this social data to create this ultra sophisticated social-based dating site could be amazing. I really think so.
I really think that if a dating site ignores the social media piece of tech and dating they’re really missing the boat and submitting themselves to the also-ran band of all the other dating sites out there that come and go every day…
What do you guys think? What will the next evolution in dating look like?